The lighter side of being a road warrior

Business Travel - While the airline and tourism industry took a pretty big hit in the years following 9/11, business travel has not decreased nearly as much in volume. Even with the advent of advancing video conferencing and an increased focus on financial control at many corporations, there is still no substitute for face-to-face contact with customers, colleagues and potential investors.

Unfortunately, increased airline security has added to the inconvenience of both tourism and business travel. Tighter security leads to longer lines at the gate as well as the requirement of arriving at the airport well in advance of your scheduled flight, especially important during high traffic travel times. While the additional time and inconvenience is well justified in light of our need to feel safe in the air, it certainly serves as a deterrent to unnecessary business travel in my own life. Where I used to travel weekly for business meetings, primarily to the East Coast but sometimes overseas, I now try to accomplish at least half of my meetings online and travel only 2-3 times per quarter on average.

While the life of a road warrior isn’t an easy one, there are certainly perks one gains from frequent business travel. One of these perks is frequent flyer miles, which can be redeemed for vacation travel or to bring a loved one along with you on your next business trip. If your airline frequent flyer miles are spread over a number of airlines, or if you simply don’t have enough business travel to warrant redemption, there are web sites that allow business travelers to buy, sell or exchange their frequent flyer miles. These sites enable users to consolidate all of their miles under one program, or to purchase additional miles in order to be able to redeem a free ticket or first class upgrade.

The concept of frequent flyer program concept has also been extended to the hotel / hospitality industry, where loyalty programs reward business customers for patronizing the same hotel (or chain of hotels) during their business travels. These rewards are often in the form of room upgrades or free rooms that can be redeemed at any hotel in the chain – useful for vacations, or as a way to gracefully host out-of town relatives when they come to visit.

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